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Blue Velvet in the O2 11/21/2010 - 7:42 PM


by Hannah Wilks, TennisWorld Contributing Writer

Two weeks ago, I saw the Paris Meridian, also known as the Rose Line. For many years, it was considered the prime meridian; the line of 0 degrees longtitude which divides the eastern and western hemispheres. But in 1884, a conference of scientists decreed that the Greenwich meridian - which now runs right past the western edge of the 02 Arena - was the Prime Meridian; that London was the alpha and omega of the world. One unintended consequence of this instance of punching above one’s weight on a global scale is that this week’s tennis takes place at 0 degrees longtitude. As the signs insist, it’s the final showdown. Zero hour.

The ATP likes to play up the Britishness of this event; London, as anyone watching the World Tour Finals is repeatedly reminded, is calling. The players pose with the Prime Minister or a red London bus, as if there’s nothing more to being British than a suit and a stiff upper lip. Personally, next year I want to see the eight finalists come out of a TARDIS dressed as various cultural heroes from the UK. Harry Potter. Robin Hood. Shakespeare, complete with tights and Elizabethan ruff. Mr. Darcy and King Arthur. Labyrinth-era David Bowie. Braveheart. Speaking of whom, the stars just might be aligning for Andy Murray, who recorded the first singles victory of the championships today in a 6-2 6-4 defeat of Robin Soderling.

Murray, well-rested, set loose on a slow, low-bouncing indoor court, has as good a chance as anyone of ending his turbulent year on a high note. Better, if you believe in the power of home-court advantage. But I’m wondering if, The Clash notwithstanding, there is anything quintessentially British about this event that makes playing here a better experience for the Scot than what he might find at any other anonymous indoor venue.

A tide of people made its way to the arena, braving the icy rain hanging in the air and the biting wind blowing off the Thames. Tennis is calling, and London is answering. It’s not like a Wimbledon crowd, either; scattered throughout are the sort of middle-ageds you’d expect to see in SW19, who pack for a day’s spectating as if it’s a hiking expedition, but there are plenty of groups of young people, too. It’s not a lawn tennis crowd; it’s a London crowd, and that means that there are all sorts of people here. This is the newly gentrified Docklands (it’s not too far from Deptford, where the street my mother grew up on was condemned for slums and demolished to make way for a high-rise), not leafy Wimbledon. This is the heart of a city that continuously reinvents itself.

The 02 arena itself started out as the Millennium Dome, built by the New Labour government at a cost of 789 million pounds to celebrate what it meant to be British at the year 2000. Five years later, a colossal white elephant, it was sold as an empty shell to Orange to be rebranded; a bloated failure to define our national identity, repackaged as a slick, corporate entertainment facility.

Last time I was here, it was for Kings of Leon; last week, it was the Gorillaz; next week, something else. Everywhere you look this week, though, you see ATP World Tour Finals branding and signage. The big screens carry vignettes on the sponsors’ support for sporting opportunity for children, or remind the crowd that Sky carries over 100 hours of live tennis a year. Volunteers shoot ATP -branded T-shirts into the crowd during breaks; the fans are asked to call the toss at the beginning of the match. Tennis, tennis, everywhere, and plenty of Corona to drink. But this venue was made to be a blank canvas, and the blanket of tennis promotion that covers it this week will be whipped off next.

Unlike the Parisian hip-hop and house of Bercy, the London DJ favours classic rock and pop during changeovers, with a fondness for Britpop, Bowie and Lady Gaga. Raised on the silence of Wimbledon, there’s an expectant hush during points, and a minimum of polite applause between. Invited to show their appreciation for the slick play of the Bryans, the crowd dutifully complies, but it’s about to get a lot louder in the arena. Because Andy Murray is about to play.

There’s no shortage of hyperbole preceding the British no. 1 on to the court. On the pre-match VT, Justin Gimelstob informs us that Andy Murray is the master of when to use the drop shot (a bold statement that Murray will later seem intent on disproving). The announcer describes him, apparently without irony, as “an amazingly gifted and talented athlete who reads the game like a wily veteran”. Robin Soderling is introduced as … Robin Soderling.

They still haven’t got the hang of the son et lumiere in the stadium, missing audio-visual cues all over the place. Soderling, too, looks out of step with events; the choruses of “c’mon Andy” from the crowd are restrained, partly because Murray rapidly establishes dominance. The pace and power of Soderling’s forehand is more impressive, and less ungainly than it looks on TV. For a shot more utilitarian than beautiful, the length of the backswing makes it seem almost impractical.

This one is the fifth Murray match I’ve been lucky enough to watch in 2010, and I’m nowhere near getting sick of it. He’s amazing when he wants to be - smooth, aggressive, clever. I love watching his feet, and the exceptional balance that enables him hit forward while going backwards, which creates good depth on even defensive shots.

I like Soderling, too, but the experience is a bit like watching a Hollywood action hero taking on a gang of foreign terrorists. You know Soderling is going to attack, pummel the ball, press forward until he misses. The formulaic elements don’t vary, but you still want to see it unfold. Watching Murray, on the other hand, is more like viewing a David Lynch movie. It's  incomprehensible at times, full of twists and turns, sequences of unexpected and hypnotic beauty, and permanently on the verge of straying into the surreal.

I’m also aware of how often Murray aces his way out of trouble. One has to wonder, can he - will he - ever serve big for seven matches in a row? Without that ace, you’ve pretty much got a hole where a grand slam should be - and a crowd that still finds more entertainment in ironically cheering for the retired Tim Henman, the paradigm of the plucky over-achiever, than it does in taking the often rocky path of being a full-on Murray fan. Errors are greeted with a peculiarly British mumble of disappointment, a dispirited acknowledgement of the inevitable, and even Murray’s exceptional first set doesn’t satisfy the punters - a young woman near me shyly says “he’s playing well, isn’t he?”, only for her boyfriend to snap “he’s world no. 4 [sic], he should be playing well.” Tough crowd.

But Murray’s a tough player. He isn’t Monfils, looking outside himself, drawing energy from the cheers; I don’t know if he hears the crowd, if it means anything to him. He’s introverted, inwardly focused. It’s not a coincidence that he yells his own name when he commits an error he finds particularly egregious. He does like to complain, looking down at his legs, the court, his racquet when he makes an error, searching for something to blame. That’s British. I think about all of his disappointments this year - Melbourne, the lost months when he seemed sick of it all, his crushing defeat at Wimbledon and the disaster that was the US Open - and what it must take to pick up and carry on.

That’s rather British, too.

[[I'm pleased to say that once again this week,  during the Barclay's ATP World Tour Finals, we have Gauloises covering the action for TennisWorld. Only now, shortly after posting, I've changed her avatar to her proper name. Hannah will be filing regulary, at least during the early going, and don't forget to look for Racquet Reaction posts as well - Pete]]

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Posted by beth 11/22/2010 at 11:20 AM

gauloises / Hannah - your writing is exceptionally good
Really enjoyed reading this piece
made me feel like I was there
and almost made me cheer for Murray :)

sounds like I did not miss much by not seeing the Djoko / Berdych match
guess I can just delete it from the tivo and not bother to watch

Posted by Colette 11/22/2010 at 11:21 AM

Wilson75, when I originally said it, he said he would keep it in mind.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 11:22 AM

wilson75 I too had the same feeling when I saw her on crutches.A pity really.She had knee trouble at Medibank and even at the match in the final her knee gave her trouble.To her wonderful mind set she came back and just took the match and deserved to win the GS.Serena has a wonderful presence on court.The minute she walks on you can feel it.

Anyway I am going for a "power nap" I hope the match between Rafa and Andy will be more compeitive to the one we just witnessed.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 11/22/2010 at 11:22 AM

I don't know if Murray's convincing defeat of Soderliing in his first round-robin match means anything significant to the tournament or the alignment of the stars, but a I watched much of the match I couldn't help but notice (or imagine) two things:

1. Soderling looked weary, as though the long season and his win last week in Bercy had taken their toll.

2. Murray looked very determined (and eager) to prove that he was the better player and that he, and only he, was the rightful world #4.

I got the distyinct feeling that this match, more than any other that will follow, was the most important one for Murray. I wwouldn't be entirely surprised if he were to have a bit of a letdown or play somewhat indifferently in follow-on matches, having established the one thing that matttered most -- he, and NOT Soderling, is the 4th element in the group of essentials.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 11:25 AM

Slice I just saw your comments on the Soderling match before I was going for my "power Nap"

I agree Soderling was heavy breathing in that match.Murray was controlling the baseline.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 11:29 AM

I am afraid I am still out with Soderling and all this new hype cause he just won a Masters tournmaent and according to some commies "he has come of age"?? well he must be a late bloomer if thats the case.His level of play dropped to me after RG this year.His game to me is best suited to hard court play.Though his volley play is just plain woeful full stop.I just closed my eyes each time he came to the net.

Murray use of his slice was good to see.He brought Robin forward and got the error most times.

Posted by tina (ajde, Novak: handsome and talented Balkans #1, world #3, Davis Cup hero, AO 2008 titleist, reigning USO finalist, cutest butt in tennis, rapper, the face of Belgrade t-shirts, Novak water and Restaurant - don't u wish your polyglot was hott like me) 11/22/2010 at 11:30 AM

"Personally, next year I want to see the eight finalists come out of a TARDIS dressed as various cultural heroes from the UK."

I just got an image of these guys in costume as the late Malcolm McLaren.

I'm pleased as punch that it only took 88 minutes for Djoko to get through.

But since I missed yesterday's action entirely, I wish there was a Racquet Reaction post for this match instead of Fed/Ferrer.

Slice, I completely agree that this match in particular was important to Murray, since he had a good long run in the #4 spot.

Posted by Anna 11/22/2010 at 11:35 AM

it's an interesting mentality. I believe Nole and Murray have settled into their 3-4 spots and have accepted that Rafa- Roger are better than them. Now one gets the feeling that they do not believe they can be #1 (or 2) but they are going to fight any newcomers into their 3-4 spots!

Posted by wilson75 11/22/2010 at 11:36 AM

Slice-n-Dice: I think your observations may be right re. Murray. He did over-celebrate after he won yesterday's victory.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 11:39 AM

I will be interested to see how Murray performs in his match against Roger.He has the ability to win this tournament.Though he has been too inconsistant for me this year.His main problem is his inabilty to focus when playing the "big points" in a match.That has been his down fall thus far in his career.

Okay onwards for me with a "power nap" or else I wont wake up in time for Rafa's match

Posted by gauloises 11/22/2010 at 11:42 AM

Hmmm. I disagree – but then, I would, I suppose – it felt like the extent to which Murray celebrated had more to do with how well he played, and certainly with the semi-finals situation. That match was likely to be the crucial one in Group B in deciding who would progress, realistically; and he not only won it, he won it in straights. He took a huge step towards getting to the semi-finals which must be a big deal for him after missing out so narrowly last year (one second serve ace of Delpo’s that Hawkeye had catching the back of the line, that was the margin). That seems a much more likely explanation to me than that he was thinking about the rankings.

Posted by Andrew 11/22/2010 at 11:45 AM

Slice-n-Dice: I dunno. press conferences aren't up as far as I know, but Neil Harman of the Times tweeted that Soderling had said he'd played a lot of tennis, and had been suffering a stomach ailment earlier in the week (although he said Murray was the better player, deserved the win, etc).

I don't think #4 vs #5 has any real meaning to these guys. Murray wants to win this tournament: Federer's up next, and Murray expects to give a good account of himself in that tie - I'd be astonished if he phoned it in.

Remember all participants can still qualify at this stage - a straight sets win by either Soderling or Ferrer would give them a genuine shot at the semis. I wouldn't read anything into Murray's response other than "home crowd, big win - felt good."

Posted by wilson75 11/22/2010 at 11:47 AM

gauloises: Human nature tells me that a victory over a rival who just took over his ranking would result in that reaction yesterday. Murray has an ego like everybody else.

Posted by SimonSays 11/22/2010 at 11:59 AM

excellent article

Posted by Texastennis 11/22/2010 at 12:03 PM

A funny uncovering, Hannah! I see you're still gauloises when writing comments. I'm really enjoying your takes on these events.

Posted by Master Ace 11/22/2010 at 12:06 PM

Thanks for the reminder on AO being The Wide Open. I knew someone had submitted a name. Could it be name The Mysterious Open since we do not know who have improved their game in the offseason?

Posted by gauloises 11/22/2010 at 12:08 PM

I just don’t think the players think that much about the ranking when they’re on court, particularly if it’s a question of someone like Murray and #4/5. He’s been well inside the top four before, you’re not going to convince me that he doesn’t believe he will be again – and he got the finals of Australia seeded no. 5.

Pleased to beat a dangerous player in comprehensive fashion? Absolutely – I’d be the last person to say he doesn’t have an ego. I just think we sometimes think a lot more about the rankings than the players do.

But ... anyway, I'm off to the o2 to watch Rafa and Roddick. Laters.

Posted by Tuulia 11/22/2010 at 12:17 PM

Rafa in Italian Vogue:

Posted by Kristy 11/22/2010 at 12:17 PM

Hm, as much as I like the name Hannah, I like "gauloises" even better. Either way, it's wonderful to read your writing again.

I missed Murray's post-win reaction, but I think beating the winner of the last tournament, who was favorited to win this one by several pundits, is worth considerable celebration. And Murray has been on a losing streak. So I understand his euphoria.

Posted by Master Ace 11/22/2010 at 12:19 PM

Have fun watching Nadal and Roddick. By the way, good stuff as usual to kick off WTF.

Posted by zenggi 11/22/2010 at 12:19 PM

Do I have to watch the match or can I save it for future generations?

Good of Novak to have his revenge of Wimblendon. Commisserations to Berdych and fans.

Posted by wilson75 11/22/2010 at 12:23 PM

gauloises: I seem to remember Murray, caring a lot about getting to No. 2 last summer and talking about battling Roger for the No. 1 ranking at the USO.

Posted by Holds 2 Love 11/22/2010 at 12:38 PM

While Murray may have had reasons for feeling especially happy with that first match victory, I agree with those suggesting he won't be indifferent to those that follow. For one thing, the British media have been justly celebrating his initial success. They may be equally critical if he doesn't live up to expectations going forward.

Posted by temes 11/22/2010 at 12:56 PM

I think the biggest thing about Andy Murray that bothers me is the way he anticipates the reeks of "I don't care" lol.

Posted by @work 11/22/2010 at 01:06 PM

Lucky girl, Gauloises!
You get to watch live my top fave and one of my sentimental faves (while I am stuck at work)
Enjoy to the max. Can hardly wait till your report tomorrow!

Not that I'm expert on Murray but I think he is always happy to do well at home. Wouldn't everyone? So I think that may have been why he celebrated the way he did yesterday.

Posted by pogiako 11/22/2010 at 01:13 PM

Thomas will still have two chances. I hope he gets a better result. He really deserves to be there. His consistent performance in the first half of the season was a testament to that.

Posted by Jay 11/22/2010 at 01:21 PM

Hey Tuulia,

Sorry about my pigheadishness last week. Something was bothering me at work more than I realized, and I just kept typing the same thing over and over. You were so patient and friendly, and correct. Thanks.

Posted by roadrunnerz 11/22/2010 at 01:26 PM

Holy cow...those Rafa pics are fabulous! LOVE them.

Love that he has some chest hair in the second one, lol.

Posted by AB 11/22/2010 at 01:34 PM

Please, Hannah, can I have some more?

Thank you for this tightly written descriptive piece chock full of something for everyone.

Hoping I can catch some of Rafa v RAndy today. I think the 1st round match with the most uncertain outcome.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/22/2010 at 01:37 PM

Tuulia :

Thanks for those great pics of Rafa !

Posted by Glenn (I change a bit the grip) 11/22/2010 at 01:43 PM

Awesome writing Ms Wilks !

I particularly loved the image of the 8 players dressed as iconic figures from British history.

Beth, if you're still around, did you catch Sanchez in the final 55 seconds?!?

Posted by Glenn (I change a bit the grip) 11/22/2010 at 01:46 PM

Tuulia: Those pictures settle it. When Rafa retires from tennis, he's going to be a Crooner.

Posted by Tuulia 11/22/2010 at 01:47 PM

Was away for a while...

Jay - you've got nothing to apologise for as far as I'm concerned, but thanks, anyway, for the compliments. :)

Glad some of you enjoyed the pics, I did, so figured some others might. :D

Posted by Kristy 11/22/2010 at 01:52 PM

Tuulia, those pics of Rafa were beautiful -- I think his hair might even have pleased Aussiemarg.

Posted by @work 11/22/2010 at 01:52 PM

Shouldn't they be playing the second doubles match of the day?
My SB is empty.

Posted by imjimmy 11/22/2010 at 01:53 PM

When does Nadal-Roddick start please? TIA.

Posted by Kristy 11/22/2010 at 01:54 PM

imjimmy, Nadal-Roddick is at 3.

Posted by Master Ace 11/22/2010 at 01:54 PM

Yes, the 2nd doubs match is playing with Nestor/Zimonjic winning the first set 6-1

Posted by @work 11/22/2010 at 01:57 PM

Master Ace,
Thanks. I guess my SB is not working. I will try to refresh.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 01:58 PM

Well I am back after a "power nap"

Tuulia thanks for the photos of Rafa

Posted by Nam1 11/22/2010 at 01:58 PM

Thx for the gorgeous pics of Rafa, Tuulia.

His hair has definitely been photo shopped but what the heck, why quibble over little things.

I am very "nervious" (Rafa speak) about the match with Roddick; please let Rafa win at least one match here.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 01:59 PM

Kirsty Hmmmm well its Vogue remember? I hope soo.

They can do anything at Vogue

Posted by Aube,pappi's trying to make me jealous?!!!,remember, I bore those kids Pappi,lol! 11/22/2010 at 02:06 PM

Good afternoon to all of you!
I'm so sad about Serena's injury now...,I guess the doubters will finally see that the girl is really injured!?Oh SEREBABY!what will I do without you in tournaments?I better start falling in real love with another good tennis player!

Posted by imjimmy 11/22/2010 at 02:08 PM

Thanks Kristy. I am assuming it's 3 EST?

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 02:08 PM

Nam 1 Hi! I think Rafa well I hope Rafa can de well in London after last years disappointment.He has said he wants to do well here.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 02:12 PM

Aube I woulo not write off Serena just yet.That girl has a great mind and will power.I hope she can recover.She has been out before with injuires.

Posted by wilson75 11/22/2010 at 02:12 PM

I've just seen the pics of Rafa in Italian Vogue. I like the first one but the second has been photo-shopped so much it makes Rafa look weird. They over did it with the hair in that one.

Posted by @work 11/22/2010 at 02:17 PM

Have you guys checked out the FedEx reliability zone on the ATP website?
Some interesting stats.
Mardy Fish has the best year-to-date tiebreak record while Rafa is the only player with a positive record after losing the first set.
This is how I pass my time while waiting for Rafa :)

Posted by temes 11/22/2010 at 02:20 PM

What was the shoot where they tried to make Rafa look like a casanova? That was just hilarious, that role does not suit him at all lol.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 02:21 PM

work Thanks you must be bored lol!

Rafa had good stats.When he won the 1st set of a match I think from memeory he had 99% he would win the match.I have to check in my records when that was.Roger had a 98% too I think.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 02:22 PM

temes Remember he did that music video with Shakira Hmmmm

Maybe they thought he could fit the part of a Cassanove lol!

Posted by Nam1 11/22/2010 at 02:22 PM

Hi AM,lets hopw you are right and he does well.

I agree with Wilson75 that the second one looks corny; what with the open shirt and all..

Posted by Aube,pappi's trying to make me jealous?!!!,remember, I bore those kids Pappi,lol! 11/22/2010 at 02:23 PM

Madame President,you made my day!I really want to convince myself with the idea that she's not done yet but injuries are mean,I know Venus has not been 100% ever since that torn muscle of her in her stomach area in 2003,although she will never admit to it,I guess it's the class of the game to not admit to injury!
Hey, why is Nadal playing Murray already?isn't he entitled to a soft one first?duck!lol! before Tim Moonpie etc finds me here,hahaha,I'm running away!

Posted by @work 11/22/2010 at 02:25 PM

Novak has the best record this year after winning the first set.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 02:25 PM

Nam 1 Well it is Italian Vogue remember lol!

Aube LOL!

Posted by @work 11/22/2010 at 02:26 PM

Rafa is playing Roddick today.

Posted by Jay 11/22/2010 at 02:26 PM

You're a great sport, Tuulia.

As a man, I think that I shouldn't comment on the Rafa photo aesthetics, but as a fan, I'm always happy to see positive publicity. I have to agree with the touch-up remarks, though.

Posted by temes 11/22/2010 at 02:26 PM

AM he clearly was devoted only to Shakira in that vid he's just not a casanova lol!

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 02:27 PM

work I think it may be in 08 when Rafa had those good stats after winning the 1st set.It wasnt in 09 thats for sure lol!

Posted by pure 11/22/2010 at 02:27 PM

Nestor/Zimnjic unbelievable 100% 1st serve! lol

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 02:28 PM

temes Quite frankly I wish he got devoted to something else lol!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/22/2010 at 02:29 PM

The second picture looks rather like the cover depiction of the hero in a book I know titled "The Italian Boss's Passion." :)

Hey everyone. :)

Posted by temes 11/22/2010 at 02:31 PM

AM hmm I did recall you were not the greatest Shakira fan lol.

Posted by @work 11/22/2010 at 02:31 PM

Most likely 08 :)
Impressed by Nole though, 50-1 after winning the first set but we don't hear the commentators talk about what a good front runner he is.

Posted by Aube,pappi's trying to make me jealous?!!!,remember, I bore those kids Pappi,lol! 11/22/2010 at 02:32 PM

Work,thank you,I was starting to shiver at the prospect of him playing Murray already,hahaha and sorry about calling Roddick,Soderling,Berdychsoft ones,they are nowhere near softies if not they would not make the Year end...I'm just talking from a chicken mind point of view,hahahah

Posted by Bobby 11/22/2010 at 02:34 PM

I actually preferred the second one - Rafa seems too awkwardly posed in the first pic. kind of reminds me of his somewhat uncomfortable appearance in that shakira video :)

the second one, tampered with or not, is a perfect reflection of the "fantasy-rafa" image that many of his fans have in their heads :) and in a shockingly perfect italian leather jacket *drool*

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 02:34 PM

work True.I havent heard any commies say that about Nole.Roger and Rafa yes.

Posted by @work 11/22/2010 at 02:35 PM

Oh I hear you!
After last year, I am afraid Rafa would lose to his own shadow at 02 (you know with the place being dark and all) ;-)

Seriously though, Roddick is difficult opponent for Rafa in these condidtions.

Posted by Heather 11/22/2010 at 02:37 PM

I'm glad to see all of you Rafa fans worried about Andy. I wish I had confidence that he would beat Rafa, but you never know...maybe he can recreate some Miami magic!

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 02:39 PM

Hmmm Miami Magic.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 02:40 PM

We I hope its not as Boring as the Nole v Tomas match or I will Die

Most of us talked about anything else while the match was going on lol!

Posted by Aube,pappi's trying to make me jealous?!!!,remember, I bore those kids Pappi,lol! 11/22/2010 at 02:42 PM

Heather,don't you remember me?my motto is no victory in the bank until it actually happens,like game, set ,match...we know anything can happen and does indeed happen!

Posted by Heather 11/22/2010 at 02:45 PM

OT: Why do people chew gum like cows when they are on the phone? So rude!

True, AM....true! We shall see!

Posted by Colette 11/22/2010 at 02:46 PM

Let the cake icing begin!

(If not, that's ok, too, let them (us) just eat cake.)

Posted by wilson75 11/22/2010 at 02:50 PM

@work: Thanks for the heads up on the reliability index. It's very interesting. As if I don't spend enough time on the ATP website already:)

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 02:51 PM

Colette I was never a fan of Marie myslef she was very self indulgent lol!

Posted by Master Ace 11/22/2010 at 02:53 PM

I bet that Djokovic one loss after winning the first set was to Melzer in the French Open quarterfinals.

Posted by Carrie 11/22/2010 at 02:54 PM

Fun column Hannah/gauloises. So happy to see you writing again.

I hope for his sake Berdych wins at least one match- but I don't want to come against Rafa.

Speaking of Rafa- I don't know why he just doesn't get hair plugs. I don't see anything wrong with men doing that and he has the money. Just as long as they are more like the type Jeremy Piven did and not like Tobias Fünke on Arrested Development. (Full disclosure- my step cousin started balding very young - in his late teens- and got some in his 20s and has looked fine and dandy.)

I also think Prince William should get some if he would like. Some men look fine balding/bald but poor Wills is not one of them imo.

Posted by Tuulia 11/22/2010 at 02:57 PM

Not so sure the hair was photoshopped in the Vogue pics, I was thinking they used various hair products and combed his hair in a different way. Anyway, not my fave pics, either. Still nice. But he's at his best all natural in natural surroundings (= not a photo shoot). Like...


Posted by wilson75 11/22/2010 at 02:57 PM

Carrie: Aren't hair plugs painful and when is he going get the time to recuperate from such an invasive procedure.

Posted by eclipse22 (rafagirl VAMOS RAFA WINNER OF ALL FOUR GRAND SLAMS) 11/22/2010 at 02:58 PM

vamosssssssssssssssssssss its rafa time!!!!

Posted by @work 11/22/2010 at 02:59 PM

You're very welcome! - I'm a stat nut myself :)

I would trust your guesses :)
Melzer had some key wins this year, didn't he? sort of out of the blue too (at least it appeared so to me)
I honestly didn't expect Nole to have such a great record. Rafa having the best record after losing the first set is not surprising but Nole being such a good front runner seems to have gone unnoticed by most people.

Posted by Tuulia 11/22/2010 at 02:59 PM

Jay, I don't see why men shouldn't comment, too. :) Women comment about women, what's the difference?

Posted by wilson75 11/22/2010 at 03:00 PM

Tuulia: No, his hair was photo-shopped, it's too thick in those pictures. I don't think they needed to photo-shop him but fashion magazines can't help themselves.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 03:02 PM

Love the fact that Andy always wears his cap regardless if its day or night and indoors

Player are coming onto the court

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 03:02 PM

Hurry up Rafa

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 03:04 PM

Rafa didnt have a little child with him

Maybe he forgot lol!

Purple and that colour head band?????? Hmmmm

Posted by Kristy 11/22/2010 at 03:04 PM

Heather, I too am glad Rafa fans are worried about Andy. Fingers crossed!

My boss has dumped me with a ton of work - aggghh. So much for scoreboarding.

Go Andy!

Posted by wilson75 11/22/2010 at 03:04 PM

What's the verdict in Rafa's outfit? I like it.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 03:05 PM

Lars Graf is the umpire

Posted by Heather 11/22/2010 at 03:06 PM

Kristy, ditto on the ton of work..booooooo,don't they know it's time for Rafa and Andy! :)

Okay folks, relying on you all for updates!

Posted by eclipse22 (rafagirl VAMOS RAFA WINNER OF ALL FOUR GRAND SLAMS) 11/22/2010 at 03:06 PM

my dear prince william, whenever i see him i think but diana had such great hair, then i remember as an afterthought oh right his father is charles!
rafa in purple, is that colour called purple?

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 03:06 PM

wilson75 I thought he would wear a different colour tee thats all

Roddick won the toss and will serve? unusual lol!

Posted by wilson75 11/22/2010 at 03:09 PM

AM: So I'm guessing you don't like it?

Posted by Colette 11/22/2010 at 03:11 PM

I'm not particularly liking the Rafa colors.

Posted by sisu 11/22/2010 at 03:13 PM

I recall there was quite a discussion here about Miami and Roddick's win. I thought it had to do with Rafa saying later that he was injured at the time. I’m not saying this to get anyone upset just as back picture that might suggest Roddick could have a more difficult time today since Rafa is 100%.

Maybe the same thing as Roger’s win Madrid ’09 and his loss in ’10 again at Madrid playing Rafa? There was some discussion on that also.

If my memory's wrong, please let me know. Definitely a possiblity.

Best of luck to both.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 03:13 PM

wilson75 I just dont like the whole colour combo

His other tee which is was going to wear at Bercy was the colour of his head band with white on it.The socks also dont work for me either.I know I am picky I have a thing about socks lol!

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 03:14 PM

Hell Kylie is in the stands

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 03:15 PM

Kylie is sitting next to Moya's g/freind and Moya is there also sitting next to Uncle Toni

Posted by wilson75 11/22/2010 at 03:16 PM

I don't get the Kylie fascination.

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